Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Wise Guy or a Wise Believer

A crown in the gallery of "The Residence in Munich, Germany
     Reading in the Book of Ecclesiastes, I came to realize that the author, whom many Bible scholars believer is Solomon, doesn't seem to be a very positive writer.  Rather, his gloomy reflections on life and existence (chapter 1:1-18) can make us feel weighed down unless we look beyond what he is saying to the answer for our lives...Jesus Christ.
     Life is, indeed, vanity without the Lord.  There really is "nothing new under the sun" when we consider all the ideas and false religions that abound in this world.  In fact, "the preacher's" outlook is that of someone who has tried everything but found no answers inside himself.  This is not unlike our society today.
     Some years ago on the Larry King Show there were two Jewish rabbis,  the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the head of "Jews for Jesus".  The discussion revolved around a book published by the Baptists on how to witness to Jews.  The rabbis concluded that this booklet was racist in its approach whereas the other two guests contended that it was merely a tool for learning how to initiate conversation with someone of another faith.  It was a heated discussion.  One of the rabbis stated that in his opinion all roads lead to heaven so there is no need to change anyone's religion.  In short, there are no new ideas under heaven presented by either of the gentlemen who did not know Christ as Messiah.
     If we key in on verses 12-18 of Chapter 1, we get a glimpse of what Solomon thought of wisdom and ideas.  In verse 12 and 13, he writes:  "I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.  And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man by which they may be exercised."  It is, in fact, a burdensome task to seek out wisdom when you don't have Jesus, but the Lord said that His burden is light and His yoke is easy.  What a difference He makes in our lives!
     Knowledge and wisdom are certainly all vanity without the relationship with Jesus Christ.  The sad part for Solomon was that he was given all this wisdom by which he became famous, but his heart turned away from the Giver.  Instead, he became captivated by many women and their false religions.  Therefore, his life was empty and meaningless even though he was the richest king in the history of Israel.  Verse 18 reads:  "For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow."
     Solomon could see that knowledge and wisdom only made him more aware of the awful effects of man's sin in this world.  All we have to do today is look around at how man has misused all the great knowledge he has attained:  abortion, euthanasia, nuclear weapons and the Holocaust are a few examples.
     Without Jesus Christ, wisdom and knowledge are empty and in vain.  Our Savior is our hope, our light, and our very life.  If our hearts are filled with the Holy Spirit, we can apply correctly the learning we have received with glorious results.  However, those who do not know Christ can only see futility in life just as Solomon did.
     So as we read the Bible today, or work on a project or read a book, let us invite the Holy Spirit to illumine our minds so that we may have the wisdom of our heavenly Father to guide us.  Then, we will know what a marvelous world He has created and how glorious is His love for us!  Selah!

How has God given you insight at the time you needed it?   I welcome your thoughts.

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